How a B2B Chemical went Viral on TikTok

How a B2B Chemical went Viral on TikTok
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The Big Smoke dives into the unexpected viral success of Donghua Jinlong’s glycine on TikTok, exploring how a niche industrial product captured the attention of Gen Z and what this means for B2B marketers on TikTok.


The introduction of brands on TikTok has created a marketplace where they can take the mask off and connect deeper with their audience. While this platform is known for trendy dances and viral challenges, it has also introduced the masses to new products such as industrial food-grade glycine…no, really. This article will explore the unexpected rise of Donghua Jinlong’s B2B glycine on TikTok and how this marketing strategy went so wrong it went right.

The TikTok Phenomenon

Donghua Jinlong started posting on TikTok in an attempt to reach businesses needing food-grade glycine, such as restaurant chains, hotels, and food manufacturers. However, as TikTok is largely B2C, their TikToks found their way to a large Gen Z audience. 

One of their viral videos showed the glycine production process, the content akin to something you would see at an industrial roadshow, making it appear out of place for TikTok. The juxtaposition of highly technical, industrial content on a platform dominated by playful, user-generated videos caught the attention of TikTok viewers, and the video amassed over a million views in its first day. The channel has a total of 4.4 million views in it’s first month on TikTok. Videos ironically sharing the original ad have amased a total of over 30 million views. 

@donghua.jinlong Welcome to #DonghuaJinlong ♬ original sound – Donghua Jinlong

The audience took this in their stride with comments and tweets such as:

  • “Donghua Jinlong saved my Grandma. They are not only the best choice, they’re the people’s choice”
  • “Girls don’t want flowers, girls want pounds of industrial grade glycine from donghua jinlong in bulk”
  • “the US congress wants to ban TikTok because they don’t want American audiences to know about Donghua Jinlong’s high quality glycine production, as the top performing professional manufacturer of the glycine industry all at high food grade above industry standards”

While these may seem like a win for the brand, the bigger picture is drawn when it is revealed that the commenters are largely between the ages of 13 and 25 and don’t have a business, or a need for industrial-grade glycine. 

While Donghua Jinlong went viral, a spokeswoman for the company expressed their perplexity at the fame, stating it was never part of their marketing strategy.

Accidental Marketing Mastery?

This case shows how a seemingly misguided platform choice for a B2B company resulted in significant brand awareness. The virality on TikTok served as unintentional PR, making their brand name known beyond typical industry boundaries. People even started demanding merchandise and visiting the factory in China looking for a tour. 

Donghua Jinlong now sells a small selection of merch to meet the new demand, competing with the off-brand merch offered on sights like TeePublic, Amazon, AliExpress and Etsy

Not a Cinderella Story

The problem is, if you are a B2B company thinking about trying this, it probably won’t work for you. While Donghua Jinlong’s ironically unironic videos received a big response, many other B2B factories have been doing the same thing for years with limited views and engagement. Donghua Jinlong struck gold in the eyes of the almighty algorithm, but the harsh truth is that your business likely won’t. 

It’s been a month, the hype has died down and it’s business as usual for Donhua Jinlong. 

So, No B2B on TikTok?

B2B and services can succeed with the right strategy (look at Later and Hubspot!). 

Here are three key tips for making B2B work on TikTok:

  1. Know Your Audience: Understand who your decision-makers are, and tailor your content to appeal to them. Engage with content that speaks directly to their needs and interests. This is a different game to LinkedIn (the B2B marketing playground). The key here is personability and relatability. 
  2. Be Authentic: People want authenticity on social media. Showcase your brand’s personality and be genuine in your approach. Whether it’s behind-the-scenes content or stories about your product, authenticity builds trust and engagement. TikTok is not the place for overproduced high-quality videos – people want raw and authentic content. However, you can still keep it professional.
  3. Leverage Trends: Stay on top of TikTok trends and find creative ways to incorporate them into your content. This helps increase visibility and makes your brand relevant to a broader audience. When in doubt, test! As long as you stay true to who you are as a brand while exploring, you can’t go wrong. Check out our guide to navigating trends.

While Donghua Jinlong’s viral success on TikTok was unexpected and perhaps unrepeatable, it highlights the potential for B2B companies on the platform. With the right strategy, authenticity, and understanding of your audience, TikTok can be a valuable tool for B2B marketing. 

Is Your B2B Brand Ready for TikTok?

It might just be time to give it a shot. Let’s talk about how we can create engaging TikTok content that resonates with your audience.

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